OpenMarket – March 2, 2018
RCS and WebRTC are giving brands the kind of customer communication options they could only have dreamed of a few years ago. We weigh up the benefits.
Rich Communications Services (RCS) and WebRTC: you may not have heard of either, but they’re set to be instrumental to the way you communicate with customers in the coming years.
Both technologies form part of what’s becoming known as Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). Many brands are already seeing CPaaS as the key to great CX, which is why spending is set to quadruple by 2022.
If you’re the kind of customer-focused professional who considers CX the big differentiator between you and your competitors, now’s the perfect opportunity to consider blending these comms solutions into your tech stack.
RCS and WebRTC: the new kids on the block
So, what exactly are RCS and WebRTC? Well, RCS is a bit like text messaging on steroids. We’re not saying it’ll ever fully replace SMS, but it does give brands and their customers a huge range of options for powerful, two-way communications.
With RCS, you can still deliver messages straight to your customer’s SMS inbox (where they’re highly likely to be opened and read), but those messages can contain rich, app-like features like images, video, links, and quick-reply buttons to make it easy for your customers to respond.
WebRTC, on the other hand, is a platform-agnostic communications technology that makes it easy to provide real-time voice, video and data communication via your website. Customers don’t have to call your contact center or download an app – making it easier for them to interact with your brand from their device of choice, and easier for you to handle more enquiries, faster.
WebRTC is also supported by Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Opera, and many more, meaning you can provide cheap, reliable, and crucially, instant communications to customers, wherever they are in the world. Little wonder that global WebRTC revenue is set to double in the next couple of years.
What about apps – have they had their day?
RCS and WebRTC may offer a more attractive alternative to mobile apps for customer engagement.
Apps are by no means dead – and a well thought out and well-crafted app can pay dividends in terms of customer engagement and loyalty.
But when you consider how much it costs to develop a truly decent app (one that does exactly what customers want), they can quickly become an expensive vanity project.
So next time you think you might need an app to engage your customers, it’s a good idea to consider whether RCS or WebRTC might work as well – or even better. Not only can they provide the data insights, flexibility and real-time communications potential of an app, but they can also be faster, easier and less expensive to roll out.
RCS in action at the train station
For an idea of how RCS can work, consider Liam. He uses a wheelchair and travels on trains almost every day. Usually, he’s caught in the rush hour madness, and while the station has all the facilities he needs, he often finds that the crush after platforms get announced too much to bear.
So how can you make life easier for this loyal customer? There’s no point sending him an email because chances are he won’t read it. And you can’t exactly go looking for him.
The answer? RCS. Not only will Liam get a platform notification ahead of everybody else, he can also see a seating map of the carriage, so he knows exactly where he needs to board.
That’s a true Empathetic Interaction; a thoughtful message sent at exactly the right time, and in exactly the right place. And it’s something that major global brands like Virgin Trains are trialing today.
WebRTC gives customers greater flexibility
Now consider Sally. She works antisocial shifts, and the only chance she gets to talk to her broadband provider is when the call center is closed and no one’s answering emails. It always takes Sally an age to get her queries answered, and she’s unhappy with the amount of personal time it takes up.
A website equipped with WebRTC could be just what customers like Sally need. Not only can she query her bill in real-time – at any time – she also knows that if there’s a problem again, she’ll get an answer within minutes, or even seconds.
Start exploring RCS and WebRTC now, and gain a competitive edge
Whether you use RCS, WebRTC, or both is up to you and the kind of service you’re aiming to offer your customers. But one thing’s for sure: the earlier you start exploring these new communications options, the more of an advantage you’ll gain over competitors who are still relying on clunky, outdated communications channels that customers actively resent using.
If you’re looking to improve how you communicate with customers, or curious how RCS and WebRTC might fit into your current tech stack, check out our RCS eBook. It contains everything you need to know about thoughtful messaging in a CX age.
And if you want to discuss your options, give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.